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Joseph Primed for Egypt

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

   
… as Enlilite strategy to repossess the strategically significant country is operationalised

For expelling the Hykso-Hebrews from Egypt and reuniting the country for the first time in 500 years, the Bantu Pharaoh Ahmose (whose name meant “Begotten of Ea”, Ea being an alternative name for Enki, the Anunnaki god of Africans) became a legend. He became the founder of Egypt’s 18th Dynasty, which ushered in a golden era of Egypt which lasted right through to about the end of the 14th century BC.  Simultaneously,   the 18th Dynasty marked the inception of the so-called New Kingdom.

The New Kingdom spanned the 18th, 19th, and 20th Dynasties of Egypt and was in force from the 16th to the 11th century BC.  Egypt was not only at the height of its economic success during this period but was also at the peak of its power militarily. Just how did Ahmose (and his late older brother Kamose, in whose steps he dutifully followed), who was only 20 years old when he took on  the Hyksos, manage to rout the Hyksos, who were so militarily strong they had turned southern Egypt into a vassal state?

Two reasons can be ventured.  First, the Hyksos were so cruel and callous in the way they treated the black Egyptians every black Egyptian was prepared to die just to be rid of them. The ancient Egyptian historian Manetho informs us that Hyksos made a habit of burning down  cities, destroying temples, and enslaving women and children just to flex muscles. It was not the Hebrews who were enslaved first in Egypt: it was  the  indigenous Egyptians who were first enslaved by the Hebrews, a settler race.  

But there’s another and probably more pertinent reason as to why the weaker subjects (southern Egyptians)  pulled off the otherwise inconceivable  feat of chasing the Hebrews all the way to Canaan.  It was all schemed by Enlilites as part of their ultimate agenda to get a tight grip on Canaan.  The Enlilites wanted the Hebrews to depart Egypt,  at least for the time being, and populate Canaan, which at the time was dominated by the descendants not of Abraham but  of Canaan (who fittingly lent their name to the entire territory), the son of Ham.

It was via Jerusalem King Anu, “Our Father Who Art In Heaven”, would land on planet Earth when he arrived from Nibiru and the appropriate people to welcome him were the Hebrews, the descendents of Shem and the legal owners of Canaan. If you recall, it  was  Shem’s people who were allocated Canaan when the Anunnaki partitioned the  known world after the Deluge of Noah’s day.

If the Enlilites wanted generations of Hebrews to have lived in Canaan by the time Anu returned, they were capable of orchestrating exactly that behind the scenes in whatever way would make it tenable. Thus using very tactfully sophisticated means to accomplish their end, they enfeebled the Hyksos and boosted the arsenals and military mettle of the indigenous Egyptians without the latter being aware that they were actually being aided and abetted by the very gods of their enemy. This Earth, My Brother …

PHARAOH AHMOSE RESTORES EGYPT TO GREATNESS

Throughout the 15 years that he was Pharaoh of a reunited Egypt (circa 1540-1525 BC), Ahmose saw to it that the Hyksos never again rebounded to present a thorn in the side of native Egyptians. He kept making inroads into Canaan and even as far as Syria and the Euphrates region  so as not to instill in them the merest sense of renewed hope of striking back at him again.

Not only did Ahmose recapture northern Egypt: he also overran Nubia (Sudan), whose leader had been an ally of the Hyksos and was therefore instrumental in bringing about southern Egypt’s economic strangulation.  Soon resources which southern Egypt was denied under Hykso hegemony now came in  flurries– gold and silver from Nubia; Lapis Lazuli from yonder in Central Asia; cedar from Lebanon; and turquoise from the re-opened mine at Serabit  El-Khadim in the Sinai wilds. The Egyptian empire prospered like never before and this was wholly under pitch-black rulers.

Now, northern Egypt was not completely emptied of the Hykso-Hebrew race. There were a few tens of thousands who had opted to remain in their bastion, Avaris, come what may out of fear of heading for a unfamiliar place, which was understandable having lived in Egypt for 500 years.  Of course Ahmose would have easily exterminated them if he wanted to for daring him, but he was not prepared to resort to such an extreme and barbaric measure in the spirit of botho. What he decided instead was to subject them to serfdom – slavery.

It was not that he exulted at seeing them in perpetual toil: this was done as a precautionary measure, with a view to ensuring that they did not regroup and launch a new uprising against central authority.  As far as Ahmose was concerned, the only safe Hebrew was an enslaved one. To his credit though, Hykso servitude under his rule was not that vindictive (that happened in the time of Ramses I, the Pharaoh of the Exodus, also referred to as the Pharaoh of the Oppression): it was relatively humane.

The Hyksos were mostly used in infrastructural projects. At the time, much of Avaris had been destroyed in the liberation war. Ahmose used free Hykso labour to rebuild it and renamed it Zaru. Zaru became the main outpost on the Asiatic frontier, the point at which Egyptian armies began and ended their campaigns against Canaan and Syria mainly. Although Ahmose made Thebes, in southern Egypt, the capital and chief religious centre of the country, he established his main residence at Memphis in northern Egypt to be close by in the event that Hyksos were up to some mischief.  

Ahmose died very young, from natural causes, in 1525 BC, at age 35. In fact, the greater majority of the 18th Dynasty’s 14 pharaohs died early. A modern-day surgeon at London’s Imperial College analysed the mummies of many of these pharaohs and determined that they likely died from a diseases of the nervous system known as  Temporal Lobotomy Epilepsy, which was embedded genetically in their case, an  adverse result, we suppose, of inbreeding as pharaonic marriages were typically between half or full siblings.   The disease typically begins at the end of the first or second decade of one’s life.

SIX MORE PHARAOHS RULE BEFORE JOSEPH’S DAY

Ahmosis was succeeded by his son Amenhotep I. Amenhotep (“Amen {Marduk}  is satisfied”) was not actually destined to rule.  His two older brothers, Sapair and Ankh, succumbed to illness before their father, which cleared the way for his ascension to the throne as the surviving eldest son. Amenhotep I was followed by Tuthmosis I.  His name meant “Son of Thoth”, Thoth being  the Egyptian name for Ningishzidda, Enki’s genius son.

All pharaohs were referred to as “Son of God”, the god being an Anunnaki whom they revered the most after the national god Marduk, who was known as Amen-Ra in Egypt. As such, Tuthmosis held Ningishzidda, who was reputed as the Anunnaki God of Knowledge and Wisdom, in very high esteem. This freedom of worship was thanks to Marduk. Marduk did not insist that his client kings worship him solely. He allowed them to worship whatever god they  wanted though in Egypt for one, this god had to be an Enkite.  But in his other jurisdictions, such as Babylon for instance, a king could even worship an Enlilite, a case in point being the great Hammurabi, who in his prayers invoked both Marduk and Utu-Shamash.

Tuthmosis I had 4 children with his chief wife Ahmose, 2 sons and daughters. Both his sons died before him and so for his heir, he settled for the eldest son of his junior wife. The son succeeded him as Tuthmosis II. But in order to secure his kingship, Tuthmosis II had to marry Hatshepsut, his half-sister, who was Tuthmosis I’s eldest daughter. Tuthmosis II and Hatshepsut had one child, a daughter. His successor, Tuthmosis  III,  therefore came from a junior wife. At the time of the pharaoh’s death, however, Tuthmosis III was just a little boy and so Hatshepsut ruled in his stead as regent.    

However, when  Tuthmosis III came of age, Hatshepsut refused to step down from the throne. Her bone of contention was that she merited being pharaoh even more than  Tuthmosis III in that her real  father, so she claimed, was not Tuthmosis I but the god Marduk himself, who had stealthily impregnated her mother Nefertiri. In the event, Tuthmosis III and her struck a compromise whereby by they ruled jointly, though it was Hatshepsut who really  called the shots. She ruled with distinction and has been  described as “the first great woman in history of whom we are informed”. She was the second female pharaoh after Sobkneferu of the 12th Dynasty, the only other female pharaoh being Cleopatra, the last pharaoh.

Tuthmosis III did become his own pharaoh after Hatshepsut’s death,  whereupon he ruled for the next 30 years or so.  A highly ambitious and expansionist ruler, he has been dubbed the “Napoleon of Egypt”, its greatest conqueror. During his tenure, he waged just under 20 wars and seized and captured over 350 cities stretching from Nubia (Sudan) to the Euphrates. This included the entire land of Canaan, which you must take note of as it is significant at this stage of the overall narrative.

Tuthmosis III was succeeded by Amenhotep II. Like his namesake Amenhotep I, Amenhotep II was not the natural heir. The natural heir, Amenemhat, and his mother died during Amehotep I’s reign. Following the death of his queen, Thothmosis III married a new wife, a non-royal. It was this non-royal wife who became the mother of Amenhotep II.

Amenhotep II was born and raised in Memphis in northern Egypt, where Hebrews teemed. Although he maintained the vast kingdom created by his father,  Amenhotep II was not keen on wars. He in fact forged a sustained peace with the Kingdom  of Mittani, which  was vying for Egypt for the control of Syria. But it was under Tuthmosis IV, the 8th pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty, that the Enlilites made the first decisive step to regain rulership of Egypt.

BIBLE MERGES SEVERAL PERSONS INTO ONE

At this juncture, we enter a rather grey area in the history of the Hebrew patriarchs. That is because the authors of the Old Testament have a tendency to merge the life histories of two to three different people into one (something akin to knitting together key events from the lives of Khama I, Khama II, and Khama III and presenting them in history as simply story of one person known as Khama) but without directly stating so.

For example, we know, courtesy of the Sumerian records, that when Genesis talks about Adam, it is actually talking about three Adams – the first primitive and sterile Adam, who was brought about (by way of genetic engineering) by Enki; the second, sexually productive  Adam,  who was placed in the garden of Eden (that is, the Edin in modern-day Iraq) and later expelled; and Adapa,  Enki’s son with an Earthling woman and who has gone into the annals of mankind as the first civilised human.  These three Adams were separated by thousands of years but Genesis fuses them into one, composite individual.


By the same token, there must have been several eminent, genetically related individuals who went by the names Jacob and  Joseph, but Genesis gives the impression, wrongly, that there was only one Jacob and one Joseph. Let’s take Joseph. According to the more comprehensive and reliable Egyptian records, Joseph rose to prominence in Egypt during the reigns of Pharaohs Thutmosis IV and Amenhotep III. These two pharaohs were in power during the  14th century BC. But Joseph,  Jacob’s son,  came along in the 16th century BC, which makes the 14th century BC Joseph a different person altogether although he certainly was a descendant of Jacob and the 16th century BC Joseph.

The above anomalies explain why  the Bible, when it  talks about the pharaohs of both Moses’s and Joseph’s day, does not specify by name which particular pharaoh it was, thus leaving us guessing.  Clearly, the authors of Genesis knew they had blended several Josephs or Jacobs into one individual and to associate them with only one particular pharaoh would have been the height of absurdity.

In the same vein, we now can understand  why such featureless names as Joseph or Moses were employed. We know they were not real names: Joseph meant “scion of a sheep”(to cite just one probable meaning as there were several), or simply Jew (sheep were known as Ewes in antiquity, which is pronounced Jew today) and Moses simply meant “son of”. If you are talking about different persons who you have merged into one composite figure, you play it safe by assigning  such a wooly name to that figure.     

Having regard to the aforesaid state of affairs, we must be wary that we do not be very dogmatic about timelines. In any case, historians and scholars themselves are not unanimous on the timelines of both the biblical patriarchs and the Egyptian pharaohs. They are the  first  to admit that most of the timelines are conjectural.

JOSEPH CHOSEN AS ENLIL’S TROJAN HORSE

According to Genesis, Joseph was sold to Egyptian slave merchants by his brothers out of sheer jealous as he was his father’s favourite child.  Of course reading the story at face value, which portrays the Jacobite family as simple, rural backwater sheep herders, one might naively believe the story when it is pure poppycock.

Maybe I’m repeating this for the hundredth time now:  the biblical patriarchs were not poor people. They were a rich dynasty, a ruling line.  They were never a poor, struggling clan. When they are referred to as shepherds, what that simply means is that they were their God Jehovah-Enlil’s docile followers, that is, theoretically at least, they obeyed him without question, stupidly, like sheep. The term shepherd also implied that they were the custodians (by hook and crook albeit) of the Age of the Ram, the Age of Sheep. That was what Enlil had designated them as.

So what point are we trying to drive across folks? It is that there was utterly no way a monarchic family would have sold a brother in the manner Genesis describes. The story is a total fiction. Every member of a dynastic family was always accompanied by a retinue of bodyguards especially in those turbulent times. The dynastic family head had spies permeating every aspect of life. That’s why when Reuben slept with his father’s wife, he was easily found out.  

If you want to know the real story of Joseph, you should turn to the Sumerian records, where you can piece together how events panned out, or immerse yourself into the works of Egyptologists. Joseph wasn’t sold into slavery in Egypt: he was deliberately planted. Why? The Enlilites, who had lost northern Egypt in 1525 BC and consequently hegemony over all Egypt, wanted to retake the country.

This wasn’t going to be by way of armed warfare: that would have been suicidal given that at the time, black-ruled Egypt was the superpower of the world, the America of the day. Egypt had to be re-conquered using tact. And the chosen spearhead of this programme of action was none other than Joseph. As indicated above, this Joseph was not necessarily the son of the familiar Jacob: he was almost certainly a different Joseph with a different father though he was a scion of the same dynastic family that was spawned ages before by Abraham.

WHY JOSEPH WAS APT

Why did the Enlilites choose Joseph in particular as the powder keg in their long-term strategy to win back Egypt, a critical country as it housed the aeronautically and metaphysically important Giza Pyramid?   There are several reasons. First, he was the bloodline heir. He might have been young but he certainly was born to the main wife of a 14th century Jacob. Second, he was exceedingly good looking and we all know that good looks can easily disarm people (ask Barack Obama or Prince William).

Third, he exuded a lot of charisma, another quality which almost automatically elicits a high and positive regard from people. Fourth, he was palpably  intelligent. He had the capacity to intellectually impress. Fifth, he exhibited gifts of a seer. He could interpret dreams and forecast future scenarios and that was at a very early age.  Finally, he was bold,  assertive,  and supremely confident in himself.

For example, he did not shrink from getting his older brothers to understand that that he was the most important person in the family, that all his brothers were his subjects futuristically, and he said that without batting an eyelid. Thus if you wanted to infiltrate and ultimately topple the enemy from the pedestal of power, Joseph, with his raft of qualities, was just the right person to deploy in such a potentially dangerous mission.

Now, with qualities such as Joseph possessed, he would easily attract attention and even curiosity from the Egyptian intelligence spooks who permeated practically every aspect of Egyptian society.  Indeed, his accent and skin colour would easily give him away. Soon he would be interrogated and it would emerge that he was a son of a powerful Hebrew political dynasty back in Canaan, who once ruled northern Egypt and were therefore   anathema to the Egyptian establishment. Once so exposed, he would be charged for espionage and end up  either in jail or in the grave. As such, to get him into Egypt anonymously, the Enlilites would have to use tact. Exactly what would that be?

NEXT WEEK:   JOSEPH ON CREST OF WAVE

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Hell Up in Judea

24th August 2021

A case can be made, General Atiku, that history’s most infamous Roman is Pontius Pilate. It was Pilate who condemned Jesus, the  “Son of God”, to the most cruel, most barbaric,  and most excruciating of deaths – crucifixion –  and cowardly at that as the gospels attest for us.  

Yet the exact circumstances under which the crucifixion took place and what followed thereafter far from jells with what is familiarly known. The fact of the matter was that there was a lot of political wheeling and dealing and boldfaced corruption on the part both of the Jewish authorities and the Roman establishment in the person of Pontius Pilate.  In this piece, we attempt, General, to present a fuller photo of Pilate as the centre of the whole machination.

Pilate’s historicity, General, is not in doubt. In 1961, an Italian archeologist unearthed a limestone block at Caesarea Maritima on the Mediterranean coast of Israel, which as of 6 AD was the Roman seat of government as well as the military headquarters.  The block bore the inscription, “Pontius Pilate, the Prefect of Judea, has dedicated this Temple to the divine Augusti” (that is, then Roman Emperor Tiberius Caesar and his wife Livia).

Pilate also gets varying degrees of mention in the works of Roman senator and historian Cornelius Tacitus (56-117 AD); the Hellenistic Jewish philosopher and chronicler Philo of Alexandria (25 BC to 50 AD); and the legendary Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (37-100 AD).

Although his year of death (37 AD) is documented, his year of birth is a matter of conjecture, General. He came from the Pontii tribe (hence the name Pontius), a tough, warlike people. The Pontii tribe was of the equestrian class, the second-tier in the Roman caste system. Originally, the equestrians were those Romans with ample pocket power to bribe their way to knightly ranks in the Roman army. Pilate was born to Marcus Pontius, who had distinguished himself as a general in Rome’s military campaigns.

Following one of his particularly sterling military exploits, Marcus was awarded with the Pilum (javelin), a Roman decoration of honour for heroic military service.  To commemorate this medal of valour, the family took the name Pilati, rendered Pilate in English and Pilatus in Latin.

The son, Lucius Pontius Pilate, also distinguished himself as a soldier in the German campaigns of Germanicus, a prominent general of the early Roman Empire. Thanks to his scintillating military profile coupled with   strategic connections in the hierarchies of the Roman government, Pilate was able to wend his way into the heart of Claudia, the granddaughter of Caesar Augustus, the founder of the Roman Empire and ruler from 27 BC to 14 AD.

Claudia’s mother was Julia the Elder, who was also the biological mother of the apostles John and James. When Claudia was about 13 years of age, Julia sent her to Rome to be reared in the courts of Emperor Tiberius Caesar, to whom Julia was once married from 11 BC to 6 BC.

Although Tiberius was not the biological father of Claudius, General, he gladly acquiesced to being her foster father in deference to the memory of her late grandfather Caesar Augustus.
Pilate arrived in Rome when Claudia was sixteen years of age. In AD 26, the two tied the knot. Needless to say, it was a marriage based not on love as such but on political opportunism.

ASSIGNMENT JUDEA

The high-placed connection who facilitated Pontius Pilate’s smooth landing into the inner sanctums of Rome’s royalty and put him on a pedestal that saw him take pride of place in the cosmic gallery of rogues was Aelius Sejanus. Like Pilate, Sejanus came from the subordinate equestrian class, who would never be eligible for a seat in the Senate, the legislative council of ancient Rome.

Sejanus, however, had over time become Emperor Tiberius’ most trusted lieutenant and to the point where he was the de facto prime minister.  He had been commander of the Praetorian Guard, the elite Special Forces unit created by Augustus Caesar as a personal security force, which developed under Sejanus’ command into the most significant presence in Rome.

In AD 26, the emperor was not even based in Rome: he had confined himself to the 10.4 km2 island of Capri, about 264 km from Rome, and left control of Rome and the government of the Roman Empire to Sejanus. It was Sejanus who recommended the appointment of Pilate as prefect, or governor/procurator of Judea. The appointment was pronounced right on the occasion of Pilate’s nuptials with Claudius.

Philo records that when the bridal party emerged from the temple where the marriage ceremony was celebrated and Pilate started to follow the bride into the imperial litter, Tiberius, who was one of the twelve witnesses required to attend the ceremony, held him back and handed him a document. It was the wedding present – the governorship of far-flung Judea – with orders to proceed at once to Caesarea Maritima to take over the office made vacant by the recall of Valerius Gratus.

Pilate was notified by Sejanus that a ship was in fact waiting upon him to transport him to Palestine right away. The only disadvantageous aspect about the assignment was that Pilate was to leave the shores of Rome alone, without the pleasure of spending a first night in the arms of his newly wedded wife: by imperial decree, the wives of governors were not allowed to accompany them in their jurisdictions. Pilate, however, was a royal by marriage and so this prohibition was waived. By special permission granted by His Imperial Majesty Tiberius Caesar, Claudia soon joined her husband in Judea. The wily Pilate had calculated well when he married into royalty.

A SADISTIC ADMINISTRATOR

The Judean perch was not prestigious though, General. The prefects of Judea were not of high social status. At least one – Felix, referenced by Luke in the Acts of the Apostles – was an ex-slave, which says a great deal on the low regard in which the province was held by Rome.

Pilate was only secondarily sent to Judea on account of having married into royalty: his posting to the volatile province stemmed, primarily, from his being of a inferior social pedigree. Be that as it may, Pilate relished the posting in that it gave him the chance to exercise power, absolute power. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and in Pilate was the archetypal example, General.

Pilate’s brief was simple: to collect taxes, maintain law and order, maintain infrastructure, and keep the population subdued. Although he was born lowly, he positively had the power of life and death over his Jewish subjects. Let us, General, listen to Josephus in his allusion to Coponius, Judea’s first Roman governor and who like Pilate was from the same subservient social class: “And now Archelaus’ part of Judea was reduced into a province and Coponius, one of the equestrian order among the Romans, was sent as procurator, having the power of life and death put into his hands by Caesar.”

Pilate, General, was callous to a point of being sadistic. He was scarcely the scrupling judge with the rare soft spot that we encounter in the gospels. Philo charges him with “corruptibility, violence, robberies, ill-treatment of the people, grievances, continuous executions without even the form of a trial, endless and intolerable cruelties”.

He further declares him to be a “savage, inflexible, and arbitrary ruler” who was of a “stubborn and harsh quality” and “could not bring himself to do anything that might cause pleasure to the Jews”. The essentially humane character of the Pilate who presided over the trial of Jesus as portrayed in the gospels may not be wholly fictitious but is highly embellished, General.

Why did Pilate have such a pathological hatred of the Jews, General? Sejanus had more to do with it than the spontaneous leanings of his own nature. According to Philo, Sejanus hated the Jews like the plague and wished “to do away with the nation” – to exterminate it. In AD 19, for instance, he forced the Jews in Rome to burn their religious vestments and expelled them from the city without much ado.

For as long as Sejanus was in power, General, Pilate could do pretty much as he pleased. He didn’t have to worry about compromising reportage reaching the emperor as everything went through the implacably anti-Jewish Sejanus. Sejanus was unrivalled in power: golden statues of the general were being put up in Rome, the Senate had voted his birthday a public holiday, public prayers were offered on behalf of Tiberius and Sejanus, and in AD 31 Sejanus was named as Consul jointly with Tiberius.

The Judea posting also gave Pilate a golden opportunity to make money – lots of it. The governors of the Roman provinces were invariably rapacious, greedy, and incompetent: this we learn not only from Jewish historians of the day but from contemporary Roman writers as well such as Tacitus and Juvenal.

As long as the money skimmed from the provinces was not overly excessive, governors were allowed a free hand. It is said of Emperor Tiberius that, “Once he ordered a governor to reverse a steep rise in taxes saying, ‘I want my sheep shorn, not skinned’!” For those governors, such as Pilate, who had support from the very acmes of Roman power, General, they were practically a law unto themselves.

PILATE’S WINGS ARE CLIPPED

Pontius Pilate, General, was untrained in political office. Furthermore, he was a sycophant to the core who was prepared to go to any length in a bid to curry favour with and prove his loyalty to the powers that be in Rome.    Both these attributes gave rise to a series of blunders that brought him the intense hatred of the Jews.

The first abomination he committed in the eyes of the Jews, General, was to set up a temple dedicated to Emperor Tiberius, which he called the Tiberieum, making him the only known Roman official to have built a temple to a living emperor.  True, Roman emperors were worshipped, but Tiberius was the one exception. According to the Roman scholar and historian Suetonius, Tiberius did not allow the consecration of temples to himself. Pilate’s act therefore, General, was an overkill: it was not appreciated at all.

Throughout his tenure, General, Pilate had a series of run-ins with the Jews, some of which entailed a lot of bloodshed and one of which sparked an insurrection that paved the way to Calvary. Then it all began to unravel, General. On October 18 AD 31, his patron Sejanus was summoned to the office of Emperor Tiberius and an angry denunciation was read out to him. It is not clear, General, what caused Sejanus’ fall from the emperor’s good graces but circumstantial evidence points to the perceived threat to the emperor’s power.

As the ancient historian Cassius Dio puts it, “Sejanus was so great a person by reason both of his excessive haughtiness and of his vast power that to put it briefly, he himself seemed to be the emperor and Tiberius a kind of island potentate, inasmuch as the latter spent his time on the island of Capri.”  Sejanus, hitherto the most powerful man in Rome, General, was thrown into a dungeon.

That same evening, he was summarily condemned to death, extracted from his cell, hung, and had his body given over to a crowd that tore it to pieces in a frenzy of manic excitement. His three children were all executed over the following months and his wife, Tiberius’ own daughter, committed suicide.  The people further celebrated his downfall by pulling his statues over.  Meanwhile, General, Tiberius began pursuing all those who could have been involved in the “plots” of Sejanus.

In Judea, Pilate, a Sejanus appointee, must have been badly shaken, General. Were his friends and family under suspicion? Would he be purged like others? Imperial attitudes to the Jewish race seemed to have changed now with the riddance of Sejanus. Tiberius made sure this was the case by appointing a new governor for Syria (who went by the title Legate and to whom Pilate was obligated to report).

The governor, Lucius Pomponius Flaccus, arrived in Rome in AD 32. Philo records that Tiberius now “charged his procurators in every place to which they were appointed to speak comfortably to the members of our nation in the different cities, assuring them that the penal measures did not extend to all but only to the guilty who were few, and to disturb none of the established customs but even to regard them as a trust committed to their care, the people as naturally peaceable and the institution as an influence promoting orderly conduct.”

So Pilate, General, had lost his supporters at the top, his new boss was on his doorstep, and there had been a change of policy regarding the very people he was in charge of. Surely, he would have to watch his step. The fact of the matter, however, General, was that he hardly did so.  In November 32 AD, for instance, he provoked a mini-uprising by the Zealots led by Judas Iscariot, Theudas Barabbas, and Simon Zelotes. It was this revolt, General, that culminated in those three “crosses” of Calvary that are indelibly etched on the mind of every Christian.

NEXT WEEK: ZEALOT REVOLT AGAINST PILATE

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Hustle & Muscle

24th August 2021

Until as recently as the 1980s a career often meant a job for life within a single company or organisation. Phrases such as ‘climbing the corporate ladder’, ‘the glass ceiling’, ‘wage slave’ & ‘the rat race’ were thrown about, the analogies making clear that a career path was a toxic mix of a war of attrition, indentured drudgery and a Sisyphean treadmill.

In all cases you fought, grafted or plodded on till you reached retirement age, at which point you could expect a small leaving party, the promise of a pension and, oddly, a gift of either a clock or watch. The irony of being rewarded with a timepiece on the very day you could expect to no longer be a workday prisoner was apparently lost on management – the hands of time were destined to follow you to the grave!

Retirement was the goal at the end of the long, corporate journey, time on your hands – verifiable by your gifted time keeping device – to spend time working in the garden, playing with the grandchildren, enjoying a holiday or two and generally killing time till time killed you.

For some, retirement could be literally short-lived. The retirement age, and accompanying pension, was predicated on the old adage of three scores years and ten being the average life expectancy of man. As the twentieth century progressed and healthcare became more sophisticated, that former mean average was extended but that in itself then brought with it the double-edged sword of dementia. The longer people lived, the more widespread dementia became – one more life lottery which some won, some lost and doctors were seemingly unable to predict who would succumb and who would survive.

However, much research has been carried out on the causes of this crippling and cruel disease and the latest findings indicate that one of its root causes may lie in the former workplace – what your job entailed and how stimulating or otherwise it was. It transpires that having an interesting job in your forties could lessen the risk of getting dementia in old age, the mental stimulation possibly staving off the onslaught of the condition by around 18 months.

Academics examined more than 100,000 participants and tracked them for nearly two decades. They spotted a third fewer cases of dementia among people who had engaging jobs which involved demanding tasks and more control — such as government officers, directors, physicians, dentists and solicitors, compared to adults in ‘passive’ roles — such as supermarket cashiers, vehicle drivers and machine operators. And those who found their own work interesting also had lower levels of proteins in their blood that have been linked with dementia.

The study was carried out by researchers from University College London, the University of Helsinki and Johns Hopkins University studying the cognitive stimulation and dementia risk in 107,896 volunteers, who were regularly quizzed about their job.  The volunteers — who had an average age of around 45 — were tracked for between 14 and 40 years.  Jobs were classed as cognitively stimulating if they included demanding tasks and came with high job control. Non-stimulating ‘passive’ occupations included those with low demands and little decision-making power.

4.8 cases of dementia per 10,000 person years occurred among those with interesting careers, equating to 0.8 per cent of the group. In contrast, there were 7.3 cases per 10,000 person years among those with repetitive jobs (1.2 per cent). Among people with jobs that were in the middle of these two categories, there were 6.8 cases per 10,000 person years (1.12 per cent).

The link between how interesting a person’s work was and rates of dementia did not change for different genders or ages.Lead researcher Professor Mika Kivimaki, from UCL, said: ‘Our findings support the hypothesis that mental stimulation in adulthood may postpone the onset of dementia. The levels of dementia at age 80 seen in people who experienced high levels of mental stimulation was observed at age 78.3 in those who had experienced low mental stimulation. This suggests the average delay in disease onset is about one and half years, but there is probably considerable variation in the effect between people.’

The study, published this week in the British Medical Journal, also looked at protein levels in the blood among another group of volunteers. These proteins are thought to stop the brain forming new connections, increasing the risk of dementia. People with interesting jobs had lower levels of three proteins considered to be tell-tale signs of the condition.

Scientists said it provided ‘possible clues’ for the underlying biological mechanisms at play. The researchers noted the study was only observational, meaning it cannot establish cause and that other factors could be at play. However, they insisted it was large and well-designed, so the findings can be applied to different populations.

To me, there is a further implication in that it might be fair to expect that those in professions such as law, medicine and science might reasonably be expected to have a higher IQ than those in blue collar roles. This could indicate that mental capacity also plays a part in dementia onset but that’s a personal conclusion and not one reached by the study.

And for those stuck in dull jobs through force of circumstance, all is not lost since in today’s work culture, the stimulating side-hustle is fast becoming the norm as work becomes not just a means of financial survival but a life-enhancing opportunity , just as in the old adage of ‘Find a job you enjoy and you’ll never work another day in your life’!

Dementia is a global concern but ironically it is most often seen in wealthier countries, where people are likely to live into very old age and is the second biggest killer in the UK behind heart disease, according to the UK Office for National Statistics. So here’s a serious suggestion to save you from an early grave and loss of competencies – work hard, play hard and where possible, combine the two!

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The Lord Ties The Knot

18th August 2021
JUDAS

… as Judas Iscariot takes strong exception

The gospels which were excluded from the official canon, the New Testament, at the Council of Nicaea are known as the Apocrypha. One of these Apocryphal works, General Atiku, is the gospel of Phillip.  In this gospel, the intimate relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene is openly discussed thus:

“And the companion of the Saviour is Mary Magdalene. But Christ loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on the mouth.  The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval. They said unto him, why do you love her more than all of us? The Saviour answered and said to them, why do   I not love you like her? … Great is the mystery of marriage, for without it the world would never have existed. Now, the existence of the world depends on man, and the existence of man on marriage.”

It is clear from the above statement, General, that Jesus held marriage in high regard because he himself was part and parcel of it.  The disciples (that is, most of them) were offended not because he and Mary were an item but because they simply did not approve of her as she was a Gentile and a commoner.

Otherwise, the kissing was not offensive at all: it was a customary expression of mutual affection between the sacred bride and groom. This we gather from the prototypically romantic Old Testament text known as The Song of Solomon, which opens with the words, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.”  As the Davidic groom, Jesus was therefore entitled to kiss Mary Magdalene as his bride.

THE FIRST MARRIAGE

In September AD 30, General Atiku, Jesus and Mary Magdalene had their First Marriage ceremony. Jesus had turned 36 in that year, the appropriate marriage age for a Davidic heir, and September was the holiest month in the Jewish calendar.  Having been born irregularly himself (in the wrong month of the year because of his father Joseph’s intransigence), Jesus was determined that he himself follow the law to the letter so that his child would not suffer the same indignities as he did. The First Marriage is captured in LUKE 7:35-50.

The marriage took place at the home of Simon the Pharisee. This, General, was another name for Simon Zelotes, the stepfather of Mary Magdalene. Although Mary Magdalene is not directly named, she is described as a “sinner”. This was another term for Gentiles, as in the eyes of the Jewish God, they were unregenerate and therefore hopeless sinners.  Mary Magdalene, whose mother Helena-Salome was of Syrian origin (Syro-Phoenicia to be specific), was a Gentile.

On the occasion, Mary Magdalene performed three acts on Jesus as set out in LUKE 7:38. She wept; kissed his feet; and anointed him with ointment. This is what a bride was supposed to do to her groom as clearly evinced in The Song of Solomon, a series of love poems concerning a spouse and her husband the King.

Of the three rites, perhaps it is the weeping that require elucidation, General. This was at once symbolic and sentimental.  The First Marriage was simply a ceremony: the moment the ceremony was over, the husband and wife separated, that is, they lived apart until the month of December, when they came together under one roof.  This was in accord with Essene stipulations for dynastic marriages, that is, those of the Davidic Messiah and the priestly Messiah.

Prior to the First Marriage, the bride was known as an Almah, meaning a betrothed Virgin. After the First Marriage ceremony, the Almah was demoted to a Sister. This was because the ensuing three-month separation meant husband and wife would not indulge in sexual activity and so the wife was as good as a sister to her husband. The imagery of Sister also being a wife is seen in 1 CORINTHIANS 9:5, where the apostle Paul refers to his wife as Sister. In ACTS 23:16, Paul’s wife is again referred to as his Sister.

Now, when the Almah became a Sister, General, she was metaphorically called a Widow, because she was being separated  from her newly wedded husband. As such, she was expected to symbolically weep on account of this separation. That explains why Mary Magdalene had to weep at her first wedding. It is a pity, General, that most Christians and their clergy miss the real story so wrongly indoctrinated are they.

In December AD 30, Jesus moved in with Mary Magdalene to consummate the marriage. It was hoped that Mary would fall pregnant so that in March the following year, a Second (and final) Marriage ceremony would be held.  Sadly, conception did not take place. According to Essene dynastic procreational rules, the couple had to separate again. They would reunite in December AD 31 for another try at conception.

The reason they separated was because for a dynastic heir, marriage was purely for procreation and not for recreational sex. But even that year, General, Mary did not fall pregnant, necessitating another year-long separation. What that meant was that Mary would be given one more last chance – in December AD 32, by which time Jesus would have been 38.  If she did not conceive this time around, the marriage would come to an end through a legal divorce and Jesus would be free to seek a new spouse.

THE FINAL MARRIAGE

In December 32, Mary Magdalene, General, finally conceived. When Jesus was crucified therefore in April 33 AD, his wife was three months pregnant. By this time, the Second Marriage ceremony, the final one, had already taken place, this being in March. The Second Marriage is cursorily related in MATTHEW 26:6-13; MARK 14:3-9; and JOHN 12:1-8.The John version reads as follows:

“Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany, where was Lazarus, who had died, whom he raised out of the dead; they made, therefore, to him a supper there, and Martha was ministering, and Lazarus was one of those reclining together (at meat) with him; Mary, therefore, having taken a pound of ointment of spikenard, of great price, anointed the feet of Jesus and did wipe with her hair his feet, and the house was filled from the fragrance of the ointment.

Therefore said one of his disciples – Judas Iscariot, of Simon, who was about to deliver him up – ‘Therefore was not this ointment sold for three hundred denaries, and given to the poor?’ and he said this, not because he was caring for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and what things were put in he was carrying. Jesus, therefore, said, ‘Suffer her; for the day of my embalming she has kept it, for the poor you have always with yourselves, and me you have not always.’”

This story (also see JOHN 11:1-44) centres on four people primarily, General. They are Jesus; Lazarus; Mary; and Martha. “Mary” was actually Mary Magdalene.  “Martha” was a titular name for her mother, Helena-Salome.  In the Lazarus story, the two ladies are referred to as “sisters”. This denotes conventual sisters, like the Catholics refer to conventual nuns, and not sisters by blood. Helena-Salome actually headed a nunnery. By the same token, the reference to Lazarus as “brother” has a connotation akin to what Pentecostals refer to as “Brother in Christ”.

Thus, the story revolves around Jesus the groom; his bride Mary Magdalene; his father-in-law Simon Zelotes; and his mother-in-law Helena-Salome. This is a family affair folks, which provides strong hints as to the exact relationship between Jesus and Mary. The raising from the dead of a man called Lazarus, sadly, was not a miracle at all:  it was a ceremonial restoration from excommunication back to the Essene governing council, which comprised of Jesus and his so-called 12 disciples.

The “Lazarus” who was thus restored was actually Simon Zelotes, at the time the most “beloved” by Jesus of the entire apostolic band, who had been demoted under circumstances relating to a Zealot uprising against Pontius Pilate.  More will be said on the subject at a later stage.

The anointing of Jesus by Mary with “spikenard”, General, harps back to ancient married rituals as patently demonstrated in The Song of Solomon. This was the second time Mary had anointed Jesus, first at the First Marriage in September AD 30 AD and now at the Second Marriage in March 32 AD. On both occasions, Mary anointed Jesus whilst he sat at table.

In SONG OF SOLOMON 1:12, the bride says, “While the King sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof”.  The anointing in the gospels was therefore an allusion to the ancient rite whereby a royal bride prepared her groom’s table. Only as the wife of Jesus and as a priestess in her own right could Mary Magdalene have anointed both the feet and head of Jesus.

The anointing in effect had two purposes: first, to seal the marriage, and second, to officially announce to the Jewish nation that Jesus was the Davidic Messiah (and not his younger brother James, who had been so promoted by John the Baptist).  It all harped back to the tradition in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, where Kings or Pharaohs were anointed for office (in their case with crocodile fat) by their half-sister brides.

The King’s bride actually kept the anointment substance for use for one more time – when the King died. You can now understand, General, why Jesus said “the day of my embalming she has kept it” in reference to his anointing by Mary Magdalene and why the first person to feature at the tomb of Jesus was none other than Mary Magdalene!

Three passages in the Lazarus story     (in JOHN11: 1-44) are particularly telling.  They are Verses 20, 28, and 29. They read as follows: “When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed in the house … After Martha said this, she went back and called her sister Mary privately. ‘The Master is here,’ she told her, ‘and is asking for you.’ When Mary heard this, she got up and hurried out to meet him.”  The reason Mary (Magdalene) first kept her place before proceeding to meet Jesus, General, is not supplied in the Johannine gospel.

However, the Apocryphal document which has come to be known as The Secret Gospel of Mark sheds more light, General.  It explains that on the first occasion, Mary did come out to meet Jesus along with her mother Martha (Helena-Salome) but upon being rebuked by the disciples of Jesus, she repaired back to the house. Why was she lashed out at, General? Because according to the Essene matrimonial code, she was not permitted to come out of her own accord and greet her husband: she was to wait until he had given her express permission to emerge.

There is yet another element in the conduct of Mary Magdalene that has parallels with Solomon’s queen, General. In the back-and-forth romantic dialogue between the couple, the queen is referred to as a “Shulamite” (SONG OF SOLOMON 6:13). The Shulamites were from the Syrian border town of  Solam and we have already seen that Mary’s first foster father, Syro the Jairus, was a Syrian, as was her mother Helena-Salome.

JUDAS DENOUNCES THE MARRIAGE

The marriage of Jesus to Mary Magdalene was vehemently opposed by most of his so-called disciples. The most vociferous on this position, General, was Judas Iscariot. The writer of the John gospel characterises Judas as a “thief” who used to pilfer alms money but that is a smear.  The gospels were written post-eventual and therefore Judas’ name was already in ignominy.

His detractors therefore had a field day at sullying his character. Yet prior to the betrayal, Judas Iscariot, General, was one of the most respected figures among the Essene community. At the time of Jesus’ marriage, Judas was the second-highest ranking Essene after Simon Zelotes (that is the meaning of “Judas of Simon” in the passage quoted above, meaning “Judas the deputy of Simon”): Jesus was third, although politically he was the seniormost.

Judas opposed the marriage on grounds, primarily, that Mary Magdalene was not only a Gentile but a commoner. Judas had the right to pronounce on Jesus’ marriage because it was he who was in charge of the Essene’s order of Dan, to which Mary Magdalene belonged prior to her marriage to Jesus and therefore had the right whether to release her for marriage or retain her in the convent. Judas would rather the spikenard (the most expensive fragrance of the day, the reason it was only used by queens) was sold and the money generated donated to the Essene kitty (“the poor” was another name for Essenes: when Jesus in the Beatitudes said “blessed are the poor”, he was not referring to you and me: he meant the Essenes).

Sadly General, as high-standing as he was, Judas had no right of veto over the marriage of a Davidic heir: only Simon Zelotes had by virtue of his position as the Essene’s Pope. Simon Zelotes was Mary Magdalene’s step-father and there was no way he was going to stand in the way of the marriage of his own daughter. Moreover, Jesus had already begun to fancy himself as Priest-King.

As far as he was concerned therefore, he was at once the Davidic Messiah and the Priestly Messiah – the Melchizedek. Thus even if Simon Zelotes had perchance objected to the marriage, Jesus would have gone ahead with it anyway. It was Jesus’ highly unpopular appropriated role as the Melchizedek, General, that set him on the path to Calvary.

NEXT WEEK: A NEW GOVERNOR COMES TO TOWN

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